A closet-Catholic's thoughts on Mary


#1

I’ve been doing some thinking and meditation on the role of Mary as the Mother of the Church, and I have found it to make perfect sense. I here write my thoughts, partly to make it clear to myself, partly to ask someone more knowledgable whether the Church’s teachings on Mary go further than this, or (perhaps) say something else entirely. As tread-title implies, I am not as of yet married to Rome, though I may have fallen in love :wink:

First, is it even appropriate to call someone Mother of the Church? It would seem not, since a mother is someone who gives birth to the child, and believers are reborn not by Mary, but by the Holy Spirit. It would seem that this equates Mary with the Holy Spirit.

However, Abraham is called Father of those that believe, not because he has begotten them, but because he is an example and a rolemodel of faith in God. Likewise, Mary is called the Mother of the Church, not because she has concieved it, but because she is an example and rolemodel of grace. She most perfectly opened her heart to Jesus and thus is called “full of grace”. As someone once said, Mary concieved Christ in her heart before she concieved him in her womb. Therefore it is appropriate that Mary should be the Mother of the Church.

But do we need a Mother? Do we need someone to be a rolemodel other than Christ? Is Mary something that Christ isn’t?

Yes we do, and yes she is. Christ can be - and should be - our prime example in everything but in recieving Christ and recieving grace. Christ cannot show us how to perfectly recieve him, because he is himself the giver. For that we need someone else. Someone who is not active (giving/masculine) but passive (recieving/feminine). And who is here more fitting, than the New Eve, who recieved Christ even in the flesh?

Thoughts, corrections, comments, elaborations?

  • CB

#2

Mary is the Mother of the Church because its members are made brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism. So we have been made adapted sons and daughters of Mary spiritually. She likewise is given the title Mother of the Church.

First, is it even appropriate to call someone Mother of the Church? It would seem not, since a mother is someone who gives birth to the child, and believers are reborn not by Mary, but by the Holy Spirit. It would seem that this equates Mary with the Holy Spirit.

Did you not heard. “You must be born of water and spirit.” Jesus said. In our baptism, we are reborn. We become adapted brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Catholic Church has never taught that Mary is equates with the Holy Spirit. The Church affirm that since Jesus gave Mary to us at the cross when told John, his beloved disciple. “Behold your mother.” and to his mother, “Woman, behold your son.”

However, Abraham is called Father of those that believe, not because he has begotten them, but because he is an example and a rolemodel of faith in God. Likewise, Mary is called the Mother of the Church, not because she has concieved it, but because she is an example and rolemodel of grace. She most perfectly opened her heart to Jesus and thus is called “full of grace”. As someone once said, Mary concieved Christ in her heart before she concieved him in her womb. Therefore it is appropriate that Mary should be the Mother of the Church.

Well, it is erroneous to say Mary conceived Christ in her heart unless you that person was speaking spiritually because Mary consecrated her life to God before she was betrothed to Joseph according to our Eastern Traditions.

But do we need a Mother? Do we need someone to be a rolemodel other than Christ? Is Mary something that Christ isn’t?

We can always need a mother, but we can never do without Christ. For without Christ, we can do nothing. We aren’t save. Mary is great exemplar because she is a role model for all Christians. For it was through her, that the Word of God became Flesh.

Yes we do, and yes she is. Christ can be - and should be - our prime example in everything but in recieving Christ and recieving grace. Christ cannot show us how to perfectly recieve him, because he is himself the giver. For that we need someone else. Someone who is not active (giving/masculine) but passive (recieving/feminine). And who is here more fitting, than the New Eve, who recieved Christ even in the flesh?

I always put it this way. Love our Triune God first, and we ought to love second Mary because Jesus loved her.


#3

Very good thoughts Contrabass.

One comment I would make is that the expression “born” in regard to the Church is not limited to the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in Catholic thought. In addition, we also speak of the Church being born from the blood and water that flowed from the side of Our Lord on the cross. Some of the early Church fathers saw parallels to the “birth” of Eve from the side of Adam.

A few additional thoughts you might like to ponder:

The Church is sometimes referred to as the Mystical Body of Christ - Christ is the head, we are the members (cf Romans 12:4 & 5; 1 Cor 12:12). In connection with this, we can see Mary as Mother of the Church/Mystical Body because she is the mother of the Head. She experienced the painful labor of birth on Calvary.

Something I like to contemplate on in seeing Mary as the mother of the Church, is to compare her role to that of the mother (traditional stay-at-home :slight_smile: ) in a home. It is the father who does all the work to merit the income needed to provide shelter, food, and clothing. But the mother has her role to play in distributing it - a role that in no way detracts from what the father has done, but rather when done properly, only serves to enhance his accomplishments.

God bless you.


#4

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